August 27th, 2014 E-Learning

elearning-wordpressLearning can take many forms. Most of us are familiar with, and can clearly define, what constitutes a formal learning engagement. Be it in a classroom or corporate boardroom, a formal learning event is pretty easy to recognize.

But what about informal learning? Could it be even more valuable to an organization than formal ones?

By definition, informal learning is an unofficial, unscheduled, and impromptu way that many people learn today. It usually takes the form of reading articles, books, viewing online courses in spare time, or going to a seminar rather than registering into a formal course.

Informal learning is growing because it is usually efficient, autonomous, relevant, accessible, and flexible.

People love learning. It is easy to open up a web-browser and search for a topic to find out more information. One survey found that nine out of 10 people indicated they enjoyed learning.

Interestingly, in this same survey nearly 40% of working professionals haven’t taken a single course of any type since they were in college.

What is likely happening is that people are going about learning in informal methods, which are more difficult to measure. In the effort to research this further, survey participants were asked how many days it had been since they learned something from an article, book, or video. Roughly 51% indicated that they had learned something that very day, with another 20% reported to have learned something as early as the day prior.

Knowing that people will actively seek out informal learning opportunities, organizations would do well to create such avenues, and to even use the informal process with their own courses.

This isn’t to say that all learning must be informal. In fact, some content requires more traditional delivery. However, knowing how people learn, and how likely they are to seek out learning opportunities, is key to maximizing the potential of any internal learning program.


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About Justin Ferriman

Justin Ferriman started LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Justin's Homepage | Twitter

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Could you tell us the source of the survey mentioned in that article? I would be interested in reading about it myself.

Avatar William H Emmons

@Justin, want to say thank you for yet another excellent article! I read your blog so frequently that Google Now tells me whenever you’ve posted an article – which seems to be every day! I love the frequency and it’s encouraging me to get started creating my own educational websites. Haven’t purchased Learn Dash yet but will soon.

Just wanted to say thank you for frequent and excellent content!

Thank you Ben, happy that you enjoy them! Never too late to get started creating your own site and courses, always room for more people who are passionate about elearning!

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